Tag Archives: Stoke City

FA set worrying precedent with Saido Berahino

skysports-saido-berahino-stoke_3875820

Berahino made a mistake, but why were The FA silent? Source: Sky Sports News

Last week, it was revealed that Stoke City forward Saido Berahino had been banned for eight weeks for taking “recreational drugs”.

The news was never revealed to the public until it was leaked, reportedly from his old club West Bromwich Albion where the offence occurred, and the ban was also kept hush-hush behind a Tony Pulis wall of “he’s not fit enough” or consequences still on-going from a transfer dispute almost two years old.

The Sun have also reported that the drug in question was of the Class A variety, which under criminal law would carry a potential seven-year jail sentence and an unlimited fine if found guilty of possession.

Now soak all of that in.

So why didn’t anyone know any of this as soon as it happened?

First of all, it’s clear why West Brom kept the new in-house. Any potential ban like that could seriously hamper the value of a player they believe could still fetch them a pretty penny, even if issues surrounding his fitness and team cohesion hadn’t helped in the first place.

Second, it’s also clear why Stoke would have liked to have kept it on the down low. A new player that they hope they can revive without too much scrutiny has suddenly been launched back into the spotlight for a mistake he made on the Baggies’ watch, not theirs.

Both were trying to protect their player, for different reasons, looking after a potentially misguided young man. It’s a reasonably hefty mistake, that many other 22/23 year olds do not make, but a first misdemeanour for someone in a place of power is always a slap on the wrist.

wembley_the_fa_logo

The FA have a lot to answer for. Source: Wikipedia

What is not clear, however, is why the Football Association deemed it appropriate to keep the news away from the public. Again, the argument to protect the player could be trotted out but that’s a pretentious stance for them to take when in all honesty, that’s not their quota.

It also becomes hypocritical when they publish big bans like when Rio Ferdinand was banned for nine months for missing a drugs test or Mark Bosnich was banned for the same amount of time for testing positive for cocaine.

If The Sun are correct and it’s a Class A drug, as described above, for any other member of society it would come with a pretty significant punishment.

Even if it was a lesser class drug like Cannabis, which would better explain the shortness of the ban, why was it kept under wraps? Does that mean others get off lightly? What about those who are doing less?

Especially when players like Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish were chastised for seeking legal highs while a player who has made an illegal mistake is swept under the rug. How the FA can stand to punish anyone else for this kind of matter and get away without a big appeal pointing to this leads to the fact that this could lead to a much wider, deeper problem.

This is not to say Berahino should have been made an example of. He was given due process, he served his ban and is now back playing, it’s not an issue for him to reveal it if others are unwilling to do so.

The FA, on the other hand, have a lot to answer for. This is a bad precedent to set, not revealing a serious issue like this will lead to either others getting away with it and the potential for future leaks through the media could look very ugly for an officiating body under increasing scrutiny.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

A closer look at some Premier League additions

After the Premier League has started purging European countries for their talent, here’s a quick look at a few recent additions and what they are likely to bring.

 

Roberto Firmino

Firmino is an exciting prospect to add to the attacking talent at Liverpool.  Source: express.co.uk

Firmino is an exciting prospect to add to the attacking talent at Liverpool. Source: express.co.uk

The 23-year-old Brazillian has always had talent but in the last two seasons he has really blossomed. Fitting perfectly in Hoffenheim’s gung-ho style, Firmino managed seven goals and 10 assists this past season, following on from his 16 goal/12 assists the year before.

Able to play either out wide, behind the striker or even as a false nine, Firmino has an attack-first mind and consistently looks to run at defenders with the ball. He’s curbed his former selfishness, adding an eye for an assist along with his confidence in front of goal.

He’s really been impressing with the Brazil national team recently but he really shone in his final game for Hoffenheim against Hertha Berlin. A sublime assist to set up Anthony Modeste for the first goal, arrowing it over the defence before showing his poaching ability late on, grabbing the winner after the goalkeeper palmed it out to his feet.

It’s a superb signing for Liverpool, considering his age and his ability, especially when you add that he can cover so many positions in the final third. He’s exactly the kind of player they needed to replace Luis Suarez with last summer and should he repeat his exploits from the Bundesliga, he’ll push the Reds much closer to those Champions League places should he stay fit.

 

Christian Fuchs

Cambiasso proved to be a great addition, Fuchs could be another excellent, experienced head to add to the dressing room.  Source: UEFA.com

Cambiasso proved to be a great addition, Fuchs could be another excellent, experienced head to add to the dressing room. Source: UEFA.com

An Austrian international, 29-year-old Christian Fuchs should finally bring some solid stability to Leicester City’s ever-changing left-back conundrum. Having made almost 100 appearances with Schalke 04, he’ll bring another dose of experience to the Foxes’ squad along with a touch of extra class.

Fuchs is good but not spectacular at getting both forward and back, he has a lovely left-foot that can swing in a cross or even curl in a free-kick. He had another decent season in a poor Schalke side, scoring three goals whilst having five assists and even played a few games on the wing when needed.

He showcased his ability on the big occasions too, scoring a volley and creating another in Schalke’s 4-3 win against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in the Champions League. That kind of experience his difficult for any club to find and they’ll know that in the important matches, Fuchs will certainly turn up.

Richie De Laet never quite impressed enough and Jeffrey Schlupp’s future hopefully lying further forward, Fuchs is a really good addition on a free transfer. He should form a stronger defensive line that’ll help Leicester not need such an amazing escape this upcoming season.

 

Juanmi

Juanmi could be very good but will need time to settle in.  Source: Marca

Juanmi could be very good but will need time to settle in. Source: Marca

Bought for around £5 million by Southampton, Juanmi has had a spectacular rise over the past 12 months. The Malaga starlet scored eight goals in 34 appearances last season, which might sound poultry for a club looking at European football in the Saints, but the 22-year-old has shown on a number of occasions that he’s got ability,

To score at both the Bernabeu and the Camp Nou in one season is some feat and the youngster also received a call-up to the Spanish national team. He’s quick, good with the ball at his feet and is surprisingly good in the air despite his 5″7 frame.

There are plenty of worries, he tends to score goals in gluts and would rather play next to or behind another striker than lead the line. He’s not strong enough to out-muscle defenders but will cause them problems in behind, which means he could be used out wide more often than up top, despite Ronald Koeman’s men needing an out-and-out forward to compete with Graziano Pelle.

He will need a bit of time to adapt, so don’t expect fireworks early on. Juanmi will most likely be used sparingly this season to adapt unless there’s an injury crisis but if you look at Malaga fan’s reaction to the loss, Southampton fans should have a lot to look forward to in the future.

 

Joselu

Joselu is a boom-or-bust pick-up but after Hughes' last two transfers of that nature in Bojan and Diouf, he could be on to a winner.  Source: Bild

Joselu is a boom-or-bust pick-up but after Hughes’ last two transfers of that nature in Bojan and Diouf, he could be on to a winner. Source: Bild

The former Real Madrid man has signed for Stoke City for a deal believed to be around £5.75 million, a number balked at by many. Joselu has had a few solid seasons in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover 96 but he’s never really set the world alight.

The 25-year-old stands at 6″3 and is incredibly strong in the air, an asset that Stoke teams in the past have valued highly. However, he’s also very good with the ball to feet, much like Hughes’ style, and it’s that added quality that’s convinced the Potters to shell out the money.

With 14 goals whilst on loan at Frankfurt in 33 games and 10 in 32 at Hannover last season, he’s shown some quality in front of goal but at times can be wasteful with good opportunities. His three assists is a positive too, especially if Bojan or Diouf is working off him, and he could be a solid addition to the Stoke squad.

In the end, this is a solid signing that really could go either way. Should he show the quality that made Real Madrid sign him in the past, he’ll be a steal but at the same time it’s just as likely that he’ll not quite add the quality they need.

 

Shinji Okazaki

Okazaki could be a real hit and will be desperate to impress as soon as possible.  Source: Bleacher Report

Okazaki could be a real hit and will be desperate to impress as soon as possible. Source: Bleacher Report

Leicester City really struggled for a prolific forward last season and by signing 29-year-old Japanese international Shinji Okazaki, they should call off the search. The former Mainz man is the most prolific active Japanese footballer with 43 goals for his national side but until recently, he’s not been prolific at club level.

Okazaki joined Stuttgart back in 2011 and managed just 10 goals in 63 appearances, of which most came from the bench, but he earned a move to Mainz in 2013 that really revitilised his career. His first season was excellent, 15 goals in 33 Bundesliga games really showed how good he can be on his day.

He didn’t disappoint too much last season, 12 goals in 32 games was a solid return and Okazaki will be a player that Leicester City fans will love. He’s an exceptionally hard worker, always looking to be that poacher in the six yard box and moving constantly, much to the annoyance of defenders.

It’s exactly the kind of player they needed, someone who wouldn’t be static when going forward and someone who can find and exploit space. He’s a consistent 10-15 goals now he’s reached his peak and should he be employed the same way by the Foxes, he’ll be a very welcome addition.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,